Money turned out to be an even bigger gap for my taste in the Unsplash results. I got results with branded card readers from Square, people holding money with messages, piles of international coins, and one too many shots of bitcoins as physical objects (which I’m sure are all doing well with views and downloads). I was looking for basic, American, paper currency — not being held, or with a message or metaphor attached. So I whipped out some money from my wallet, found a spot in my office with decent lighting, shot it with my phone, and uploaded it to the site.
A week or so later, my account crossed the 500,000 views mark — around the same time we launched our products Unsplash feature. All of the photos of practical “nouns” in isolation were doing better than my DSLR-shot images which had taken more time and creative investment. The views and downloads for my money images were closer to the lego images than the cityscapes and sea life.
I don’t think my photos of cash or legos are particularlyamazing, I don’t even think that they’re as good as they could be with careful planning and better equipment — and that could still prove to be the case over time — but I do think that they clearly checked boxes for people who otherwise couldn’t quite find what they’re looking for. Unsplash is amazing service, that is brimming with high-quality portraits, landscapes, interesting objects, and gorgeous interiors, so using this user-need approach, and delivering quality that curators at Unsplash feel belongs on their site, seems like a good strategy to garner attention and usage of your work on the site.